I came to the knowledge of Jesus Christ in 1993, December 12th was the day. It was the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. Now I look back at the man that I was and that I have become and I am amazed at not only what God has brought me through but also what He has done in me and through me. I am looking forward to a long life with Him guiding me and teaching me to be more and more like him. I was baptized my first day I attended church. But, I am getting ahead of myself. Let me now tell you how it was I met Jesus in a living room of a good friend.
I came from an average family in Greenfield Indiana. Mom and dad took really good care of four boys, me being the oldest, and we were taught right from wrong. We never had any form of religion. There was a smitten of Christendom here and there but nothing substantial or even noteworthy. We only ever attended church on a random Easter or for an occasional wedding. I only knew about Jesus vaguely. I did not know Him. In fact I actually knew only about Him because of Easter and Christmas but that was about it. I had heard He was returning someday but that was something that really did not mean anything to me.
If you had asked my mom what religion we were she would have quickly answered Christian. But, in actuality we were more deist than anything I guess. I believed in God but that was it. God was the credit for the unexplainable. I could not tell you anything about Him other than I believe He did exist. I did not think there was any sort of close relationship between people and God and a personal connection with Him was just silliness.
I personally was a theistic evolutionist. I believed that evolution was true science and I also believed that God caused evolution. I believed that the Bible was a book filled with various stories of days and events gone past and although beneficial for learning about the past and gaining knowledge of some moral standards the Word certainly was not a living book. In fact at the age of twelve I had even asked my grandmother for a Bible for my birthday. Little did I know that very Bible would play a very important role in my life over a decade later.
As an evolutionist I had my first crisis of faith on September 5, 1991 just a little after midnight when my first child was born. Understanding what we evolutionist know about the stages of the development of a fetus I was taken back when I saw not only the delivery process but the finished fruit of that labor which was a breathtakingly beautiful, amazing, little girl who was perfect! This is not a product of evolution, is it? It was as if I caught a glimpse of God for a brief moment.
The second crisis of faith was when my second child was born. She was so much different from the first. Every bit as breathtaking and amazing, she was unique. Not like a carbon copy of the first but like a snow flake. She was gorgeous and her own person and I could not bring myself to see her as a product of random chance, this was nothing random but rather intentional with a purpose.
Not too long later there was another crisis of my faith in evolution. I had a boss who was also a friend that had returned to church about the time he was to be married. Wanda and I were part of that wedding. The wedding was at North Eastwood Christian Church. So, that was officially or first visits to that church- all wedding related. It was a beautiful sanctuary with a simple but comfortable decor. I felt really at home there but it was a church and I really had no need for a church or a religious system of belief. I was just fine on my own. But our friends later began having some home church (Oikos) groups meeting at their house with the purpose of providing fellowship and a non-threatening way to bring others in and expose the to the truth of Jesus Christ.
My friend would begin to share truths with me and invite me and my wife to attend one of the Oikos meetings. Wanda was feeling the tug at her heart and wanted to go to church. She always did have some sort of special spiritual connection that I could not really understand. But I was the one who kept rejecting the offers. It was just plain silly to waste time going. Even though these friends of ours used to hang out with us and drink, all of that had pretty much stopped. I loved those times and did not like the fact that they did not exist anymore. I loved my beer and not having to be a slave to a religion. Besides, as an evolutionist, I knew that there were things that the Bible did not explain or prove that I could see for my very own eyes. One of those things was the existence of dinosaurs. I mean, we see them in a museum! Why weren’t they mentioned in the Bible? The answer was because the Bible was flawed and it was essentially a book of mythology.
Time moved on and I was finally worn down and had enough of the repeated asking for us to attend. Wanda wanted to go. So, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to put all of this nonsense to an end. I would go and I would show these people how silly and a waste of time their religion was. I was very well studied in the science of evolution; I was a self proclaimed disciple of Carl Sagan. I was a contributing member of the Planetary Society; this would be a piece of cake! Little did I know that everyone already knew I was coming that night. In fact, not only did they know that but they also had been specifically praying for me and Wanda. My friend had warned the group- a hostile is on the way. That day I headed home after work, which at that time we were living with my dad, and I grabbed that old King James Bible my grandmother had given to me and we made the trek to the first Oikos group we had ever been to.
When we arrived we were warmly greeted and introduced. There were some snacks and some sharing time and prayer time. I heard some testimonies of answered prayer and some scriptural references and seemed to make sense. But, I still was not buying it. Another oddity was the leader of the group. It was not the host and hostess, our friends; it was this skinny twenty-something youth pastor with long red hair with an almost boyish look about him. Easy! This was going to be so easy. I was going to make minced meat of this silly religion and it will be a quick and painful death for them and their God.
As the main part of the meeting was winding down there had been some excellent answers to some issues and problems the members of the group were dealing with buy the young red head pastor. I was mildly impressed but assured myself that it was easy for a preacher or pastor to do this sort of thing for the weak minded or the unlearned. After all, anyone who actually believed the Bible to that degree could not be all that smart. It was almost a handicap for them.
The time of sharing ended for the group. Now it was my turn. After confirming that the members of the group really believed that the Bible was the true Word of God I turned my attention, and my artillery guns to the youth pastor. It was getting late and I needed to get this over with. I decided to know try to enter a “side door” approach with him but go right for the jugular. I was standing next to the pastor when he asked me what I would like to know. I cut right to it; show me dinosaurs in the Bible, was my first shot.
He asked me for my Bible and flipped to Job chapter 40 and had me begin reading. Now, in my Bible there were some references to two creatures in the text. Behemoth and Leviathan were a noted as a hippo or elephant and an alligator or crocodile. But as I read something very strange began happening to me. My eyes began to see things I had never seen before. THERE! Right there! These are not contemporary animals, these were dinosaurs! My religion, Evolution, crumbled right before me. Why had I not seen this before? The very detailed descriptions in the Bible were uncanny to the understanding that I had about the very creatures my religion, yes religion, said were the descendants of birds. It was as if I could see now into a dimension that was previously hidden from me. I felt like I was duped by all those I trusted to teach me. I felt like a victim of a scam. I now had some serious things to work out in my mind.
The youth pastor could tell what had just happened. I began asking more questions. Eventually he handed me his personal little pocket size New Testament with all his evangelistic notes in. I took that little red book and the next morning began reading, and reading, and reading. In fact even while I was at work I was able to keep up my quotas my work standards and was engrossed in every word and every story. Within three days I had read the New Testament cover to cover. I was in a spiritual mess. My world was unraveled, and now I came face to face with the Word of God and He demanded something of me. I was on my way to Hell. Jesus was not this sweet, soft gentle, person people always referred to Him as. No, He was not happy. He was in fact quite angry at the hearts and attitudes of people and He spoke so much about the reality of Hell with all of these teachings culminating in the Book of Revelation- Jesus Christ literally scared the Hell out of me. I went home and told Wanda that we needed to be baptized ASAP.
That very next Sunday we were baptized. My friend and the youth pastor baptized us both. We were excited! Our sins had been forgiven and our pasts would never be held against us! We had new lives! We were promised a future in Heaven and that the Holy Spirit will indwell us and guide us in our lives. It was bliss of true freedom and love unlike anything I can possibly describe. But there is also another side to this new life, there was the issue of my previous beliefs and who got me indoctrinated in it. I spent long hours in prayer asking God to use me and to set me on fire for Him and His Word, to make me bold and zealous for His Son. Make me like one of His prophets, like His friend David, His messenger Moses, as He forms me into the likeness of His Son, My Lord Jesus.
A very short time later I was in my car and I had just pulled into the parking lot of one of my customers. I had just put the car in park and I felt a sudden swoosh come over me and it took my breath and I gasped as it returned. My eyes were open to other things. The fire came and my zeal increased. My desire for His Word was insatiable and I grew in knowledge and in discernment. I had a spiritual sense now and I could tell something was spiritual rotten immediately. I had an urgency burned into me for the deceived and the lost. My hatred of false doctrines and damning teaches drove me to be more confrontational with those bearing those messages. I rattled the cages of peoples from Jehovah’s Witnesses to Mormons, to World Wide Church of God members, to people from The Way International, from Catholics to those following heretics like Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, and Oprah Winfrey… Man was it intense.
The fire, well it is there just not quite the same. I am still a person who will not stand for doctrines that lead others astray. I am not a very well liked man. But, I am a man who loves more than I ever have or could ever have. I have matured tremendously and have had some great cleaning in my life of things to often broke fellowship with my Lord
There are three passions I have now when it comes specifically to my Christian faith. These are the study of the end times (eschatology), the defense of the faith (apologetics), and worship. All three play a major role in my Christian world view and how I walk daily with Christ.
… But there is still more of this story to come.